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Dublin: 1°C Sunday 24 January 2021

15 mothers at the Dáil ask Kenny to add fatal foetal abnormalities to Bill

“Some women out there want to see the pregnancy through, but some women can’t and we’re not giving them a choice,” said John Halligan TD.

Image: Pregnant woman via Shutterstock

INDEPENDENT TD JOHN Halligan, backed by 15 women who had given birth to babies that were ‘incompatible with life’, called on the Taoiseach to make provisions for fatal foetal abnormalities in the upcoming abortion bill .

Around 1,500 cases of fatal foetal abnormality are diagnosed in Ireland every year – that’s over four women every day. Of these cases, 80 per cent of the women involved travel abroad for a termination.

Representatives of ‘Terminations for Medical Reasons’ joined Halligan during the round of Leaders’ Questions in the Dáil where he asked Enda Kenny for the Protection of Life During Pregnancy Bill to be amended.

Kenny said that “as a husband and a father” he had “compassion” for the women. However, he added that “the Bill that is currently going through the House is one that is staunchly within the constitution and the law… This is a different set of circumstances. There is a constitutional right to life of the unborn.”

Kenny said he could not make allowances for Halligan’s request, but he could understand it.

Halligan told TheJournal.ie of some of the traumatic experiences that some of these have been put through:

One woman, who was too traumatized to come to Leinster House today, decided to through with the birth although she knew the baby would be badly deformed… The baby was so bad it wasn’t recognisable as a child. She is now unable to have sexual relations with her husband and has nightmares most nights.
A husband of one of the women brought his wife to Liverpool for a termination after they found out their baby was incompatible with life. They were given the babies’ remains in a little box to take home for burial, but they found it hard to get through customs.

“It’s important to make the point there are women out there who want to see the pregnancy through,” Halligan said. “But some women can’t and we’re not giving those women a choice. It’s outrageous”.

“By not legislating for this situation – by not providing the legal and medical framework needed – we are forcing traumatised parents who want to terminate a pregnancy under these tragic circumstances to leave their homes, leave their countries, without care or advice, at a time when they should be surrounded by their loved ones. It is barbaric,” Deputy Halligan continued.

Read: At least 13 TDs to oppose abortion bill with first vote now due next week>
More: “It’s undemocratic” – Labour councillor quits the party over abortion>

About the author:

Amy Croffey

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